An excavator digging on private property Thursday morning on Munjoy Hill struck a natural gas line, leading to a brief evacuation of two apartment buildings and a temporary closure of a section of busy Congress Street.

Portland Deputy Fire Chief John Everett said firefighters responded shortly after 8:30 a.m. to help secure the area. They blocked off Congress Street between North and Merrill streets.

“Like any leak, we take precautions,” he said. “This could have been a lot worse.”

Everett said Unitil, the natural gas provider, was called to repair the line. He said he didn’t believe the excavator operator did anything wrong because the section that was being dug was clearly marked.

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